DANCIN' FOR MIRACLES
Wasaga Beach, Spetember 2012
Leather and Lace was the theme so if you happened to notice that all the leather and lace clothes from your local charity shop had disappeared by the time the September long weekend came around, then you should know that the chances were that the local line dancers had bought them all!! This was the theme for Dancin’ for Miracles, 2012, and, as in the past, the dancers took it seriously!! But I’m jumping ahead of myself. For those of you not in the know, Dancin’ for Miracles is a “must go to” for Ontario line dancers, and as far as I know it is also the largest fund-raising line dance event in Canada. Headed by tireless Event Director Valarie Keller along with her vary capable Associates Rose and Ray Turcotte and numerous dedicated volunteers this was its 12th year.
The event is held in the Exhibition Grounds at beautiful Wasaga Beach. Many dancers go up early so they can walk the longest fresh water beach in the world before the dancin’ starts! Friday evening is “meet, greet and dance”. If you are one of the instructors it is also the time to be a little apprehensive as Valarie usually has an unusual way of introducing you to the dancers! This year it was a game using pool noodles and definitely not for swimming, use your imagination! Saturday is the workshop day. It started off with zumba with Lena Kovac, and if you still had some energy to spare you could take part in the Maytag Washer and Dryer motor bike dance (please don’t ask!) and then there were 12 other classes to take!! Dan Morrison, who is a long time favourite with this crowd, taught two new creations ‘Change the World’ and ‘Mine’, both of which went down well. Croc and Hope had dancers giggling with the contra ‘Heavenly Waltz’ (I was not sure they were supposed to be laughin’ so much but with Croc around having so much fun it was not surprising!) and 'Baby Goodnight'. First timer Doris Dube did an excellent job of keeping us in line with ‘All My People’ choreographed by a new name to me Jocelyn (Lariat) Vachon. Some fun moves in this dance and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I came next with “Baamulaiza” (aka as “Not Like Fred”!) and a series of steps from the choreographers’ handbook!
We took a break for our bargain lunch of $3 prepared and served by the ladies from Newmarket. This also gave us the opportunity to buy our “Chinese Auction” envelopes, Penny Sale and Raffle tickets (some wonderful prizes) plus participate in “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with first prize of a night at the Hilton in Niagara Falls together with numerous free passes to attractions and 2 passes for a helicopter ride over the Fall, alternatively you could win a bulletin board literally covered in lottery and scratch tickets (surely there was a winner among that lot!) and third prize of a $50 gift certificate for Home Depot. It was also time for the eagerly awaited “Pie Toss Contest” where you paid your money and hoped your name would be called to toss a pie at your favourite instructor! This was definitely a messy business as you will see from the photos; just hope those instructors actually like the taste of whipped cream!
Back to dancing with our own Fred Buckley and one of my favourite dances of the day ‘Hanging On’, a lovely dance to a terrific song. Another first timer, Rhonda Nadon from Ottawa, was up next and did a great job of teaching ‘Bang Bang’ by Rachael McEnaney and Simon Ward. I loved this dance, got my heart rate up and at the same time the dance had some smooth moves. Double Trouble (Cathy Montgomery and Kathy Kaczmarek) are always a pleasure to learn from and are also excellent choreographers. They write dances for all levels and this year presented a couple of fun beginner dances “Dancin’ Shoes’ and ‘Stop Look and Listen’. Another newbie, Rachael Polack, had us smiling as she taught ‘What I Love About Your Love’; a good choice of an easy dance written by Eddie Huffman that went well with the song. Michele Carver taught the challenge of the day “Together We Dance’ by Peter and Alison. Michele was, as always, well up to the challenge and did an excellent job of taking us through the steps and the 101 tags (sorry – 4 tags!) I do jest, they were eeeeeeeasy!!!
There is always a longish break that allows dancers to eat, look around or simply take a nap and let their sore feet have a rest! The dance is where all those charity shop finds are paraded around and what a feast for the eyes there was! Some of the costumes rather stretched the theme of Leather & Lace in more than one respect but thankfully the morality squad was off raiding somewhere else that night!! A bit of dancin’ with everyone’s favourite DJ at the helm, Lynn Warden, and then a break for the entertainment.
There was not dry eye in the place as Leanne’s ‘Movers & Shakers’ gracefully performed to ‘I’m Gonna Love You Through it’ by Martina McBride and again with an excellent performance by ‘The Crazy Soles’ who presented their ‘hero’ Valarie Keller with a cheque for $4400 that they had raised through their own fund-raising efforts this past year. To top it all off we were mesmerized by the sight of a motley crew of male ballet dancers in the most attractive tutus performing for our pleasure, what more could we want?! Well, muscular tattooed biker chicks performing with chairs were pretty impressive as well! And a tuneful rendition of ‘Cell Block Line Dance’ performed by the aforementioned ballet dancers rated right up there (up where I am not toooo sure, but “up there” most definitely!) The ballet dancers/singers and motorbike chicks could only be The Delhi Country Cruisers impressing us with their versatility yet again.
And the surprise of the night was for Mrs. Betty Keller, the indomitable organizer of the “Penny Sale” whose 80th birthday was celebrated with a troop of the most handsome males in smart tuxedos (you can’t beat a man in a tux!) serenading her with her favourite song. And, of course, birthday cake for all!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU BETTY AND MANY MORE, THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DO.
Sunday morning started off with a quick one wall review of the dances taught on Saturday and it was then onto dancin’. Lynn even kept us going right through lunch! All too soon it was time to say goodbye..
My heartfelt thanks go to the tireless Valarie and her helpers for yet another successful event; both for dancing and for fund-raising for cancer research, this year $10,000 was raised. The time and energy that goes into organizing this event is enormous; it takes all year to gather the numerous gifts and everyone goes away with something. The date has been set for next year for September 6-8, theme 'Toga Party'! So don’t forget to write that in your calendar and see you then!